As an Emergency Manager with the U.S. Government, I have
information to the current events and those events that may happen in the
near future. At this time, I want to take this opportunity to give you some
general advice for survival if a terrorist act hits very close to home that
could potentially incapacitate you. Here's some suggestions to be prepared:
- Treat this situation as if it were a major earthquake.
- If terrorism strikes in your state or even region, cellular
will go out due to the overloading of the system and the resulted crash of
the network. Also your regular phone's may be disrupted and the state of
emergency may result in 1/3 of your region's lines being turned off for
periods of time so that the system doesn't overload. This is similar to
rotating blackouts, only on the phone lines. Thus, develop a plan for you
and your family members so that you can either meet or be assured they will
know how to regain contact with you.
Also consider that if family members work or frequently
travel to another
city, roads may be blocked or unsafe to travel. Thus, arrange for those
members away from the general home area to divert to a close friend's house
in the city they frequent. Have them stay there until the "all clear" is
given. You (and they) will be more assured of their safety. Have backup
friends, too. Consider you will not be able to communicate with them for at
least four to 24 hours - again, AT LEAST.
- Ensure that you frequently refuel your vehicles and
that they are always
full with gasoline. Those of you who frequently let your car go below ½
tank, that may not get you home if stuck inlocal traffic. The last thing you
want is to run out of gas. Remember, gas stations need electricity to run
and in a terrorist situation, they may be ordered to shut down - even if
there is electricity available.
- ALWAYS carry cash and lower dollar bills. In a situation
communications failure, no store can process credit card/ATM transactions
because these require phone lines. If you frequently forget to keep cash on
you, have $40 in loose bills stored in a secret spot in your car that you
use the most. This way, if you get caught on the road without cash, you have
that secret stash.
- Keep enough water on hand for ONE WEEK. Freshly bottled
water. This is
because our municipal water systems ARE at risk. One week will be sufficient
for trucked water to make it in. The traditional three days is too short.
- Have your pantry's STOCKED with food for one week, too.
This should be
food that is very simple to make. You should also have enough packaged food
for afew days that require no cooking, should the electric systems be taken
- It is a good idea to have a portable emergency kit in
a large duffle bag
containing the above items, should you (God forbid) ever need to be
evacuated. This way, you can grab the (ONE) bag and go. Essential items
should include medicines (for one week's supply), toilet paper, toothbrushes
and paste, hand sanitizer, water/food, flashlights, portable radios with
plenty of batteries, pen and paper, whistle, rope, duct tape, blankets,
general toiletries, and anything else you feel to sustain you for ONE WEEK.
Believe it or not, this can all fit into one large duffle bag for a regular
sized family. Your life is the value, not material possessions.
- Pets. Make sure you have the appropriate carriers for
your pets and plan
for extra water and food for them. It is a good idea to buy a small bag of
food for them and store it with that emergency duffle bag. Also store
leashes/collars, and extra water. Do NOT leave pets unattended. In emergency
situations, they know something is wrong and get scared easily and may try
to even run away. Be mindful of this.
- In extreme cases, the Red Cross and local overnments
utilize Amateur Radio
as a way to pass welfare traffic. Today's terrorist acts in NYC left Amateur
Radio as the ONLY means of communications in or out of the city. The cities
9-1-1dispatch center was on the 12th floor of one of the towers. That went
down and so did their 9-1-1 system for the whole city. If you evacuate, it
is best to go to the Red Cross and have HAM radio pass welfare traffic to
your loved onesacross the country.
- If you are home when a situation occurs, STAY THERE.
DO NOT go out and
drive around or wander. Subsequent events can immobilize you away from home
and create undue worrying from your family. Doing this also hampers
emergency efforts and obstructs life saving efforts.
- STAY OFF THE PHONE. Calling everyone in the world ties
up the phone system
and obstructs emergency services. It is best to CALL ONE party out of state
andhave them contact everyone else to let them know you are okay.
- The notion of this can't happen here was proved wrong.
It can and will
happen anywhere. Report suspicious circumstances to law enforcement
immediately. Let them determine the severity of the situation. If government
says get out or to watch out for certain places, don't take it lightly. THIS
IS REAL. Consider that nothing happened to the west coast today and there
are two very largepopulation centers in California. If you think there is no
terrorists in California: WRONG. I can't say anything further on this
without compromising confidentiality, but you get the point.
- DON'T PANIC. Just be mindful of the circumstances. Just
be prepared if it
ever hits close to your home. Chances are it won't, but possibilities are
endless. Pull together and defend our country and support government. This
is a time where we need to unify as a nation more than ever. Icertainly hope
the above tips have made you aware of how to begin to take care of yourself
and prepare before an emergency. The above can be applied to any disaster
(floods, quakes, etc)... It is also suggested that you research more for
other items recommended to stock up on not mentioned here (like clothing).